The Daily Breeze – SP gallery reframes art therapy

By Megan Bagdonas Staff Writer

Article Launched: 12/13/2007 11:42:54 PM PST

Click photo to enlarge

Harold Plople says modestly that his artwork is just therapy… (Steve McCrank/ Staff Photographer). Harold Plople is an artist who suffers from delusions.

But operators of the San Pedro home for the mentally ill where he lives believe Plople should have the same opportunity as high-end, stable-minded artists to display his paintings in a professional setting.

So now the white walls and high ceilings of the Harbor View House gallery are reserved for only its most accomplished and skilled artists. Gone are the days when any and all artwork done by residents was put on display.

"Before we just hung everything everywhere, it was like an open house at a school," said Amy Myers, gallery and studio director. "It wasn’t good for selling things because there was such an array of styles and the quality level was all over the map.

"But now our gallery is going to look like any gallery you will see anywhere."

And for the first time, Harbor View House is hosting a one-man show. Plople’s poignant images inspired by his five years as a "drunk, belligerent, obnoxious person" on Los Angeles’ notorious Skid Row dominate the gallery. 

Continued…

The Daily Breeze – SP gallery reframes art therapy

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Video interviews

Video interviews with art therapists in the Netherlands 

Art and the children of Darfur

Using Crayons to Exorcise Katrina

September 17, 2007
By SHAILA DEWAN

Art Therapy – New York Times


Trinity Williams, a child displaced by Hurricane Katrina, works with Karla Leopold, an art therapist, above. At right, other work by children at a FEMA trailer park in Baker, La., shows that the trauma of the hurricane has influenced thoughts of home and safety.

BAKER, La., Sept. 16 — One of the most common images in children’s art is the house: a square, topped by a pointy roof, outfitted with doors and windows.

So Karla Leopold, an art therapist from California, was intrigued when she noticed that for many of the young victims of Hurricane Katrina, the house had morphed into a triangle.

“At first we thought it was a fluke, but we saw it repeatedly in children of all ages,” said Ms. Leopold, who with a team of therapists has made nine visits to Renaissance Village here, the largest trailer park for Katrina evacuees, to work with children. “Then we realized the internal schema of these children had changed. They weren’t drawing the house as a place of safety, they were drawing the roof.”

Countless articles and at least five major studies have focused on the lasting trauma experienced by Hurricane Katrina survivors, warning of anxiety, difficulty in school, even suicidal impulses. But few things illustrate the impact as effectively as the art that has come out of sessions under the large white tent that is the only community gathering spot at Renaissance Village, a gravel-covered former cow pasture with high truancy rates and little to occupy youngsters who do not know when, or if, they will return home. Even now the children’s drawings are populated by alligators, dead birds, helicopters and rescue boats. At a session in May one 8-year-old, Brittney Barbarin, drew a swimming pool full of squiggly black lines. Asked who was in the pool, she replied, “Snakes.”The drawings, photographs and sculptures, about 50 of which went on display Sunday at the New Orleans Museum of Art, are a good indicator of how children are coping, said Dr. Irwin Redlener, the co-founder of the Children’s Health Fund, which has provided mobile mental health clinics to some families along the Gulf Coast. The art also shows that the trauma did not end with the hurricane.
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AATA 2007 conference

The Art of connecting from local to global.

AATA’s 38th annual conference

November 14-18, 2007 Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

AATA 2007 PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

CONFERENCE TRACKS

The conference is organized into seven subject tracks designed to help participants quickly find areas of interest and make the most of the conference. Please mix and match and attend the presentations that best fit your needs.

CA Clinical Approaches
Expand your knowledge of art therapy with children, adolescents, adults, families, and the elderly in psychiatric, medical, and a variety of other group and individual settings. Learn about therapeutic best practices, case studies, and art therapy techniques and methods.

CT Current Trends
Discover the contemporary issues that professionals in the forefront of the field are investigating. Topics include technology, credentialing, ethics, activism, and more.

TA Theory and Assessment
Examine the most recent theoretical thinking in the field. Study art therapy assessments, current research and theoretical models taught by experienced researchers and pioneers of art therapy.

SC Studio and Community
Focus on programs with an art studio-based approach. Artist-centered art therapy practice and community outreach programs designed to improve our collective well being are featured.

ES Education and Supervision
Explore updates in art therapy training and education. Focus on the latest teaching methods, supervision techniques, and educational developments.

MC Multiculturalism
Celebrate the many ways art therapy heals diverse peoples. Increase multicultural competency by learning about cross-cultural relationships, programs and practices.

RE Research & Evaluation
Focus on the theory and practice of clinical evaluation, the use of standardized assessments, systematic case studies, outcome studies, and all forms of inquiry, using or exploring various research methodologies.

The conference has two themes in addition to seven tracks. Theme-specific sessions are color-coded throughout the program:  Creativity and Loss and Art and Technology 


Workshops and master classes

 

Call for Contributions Educators, practitioners, scholars, allied health

Call for Contributions Educators, practitioners, scholars, allied health therapists and artists, are invited to make a submission to be part of the exciting, cutting edge international symposium placing the arts at the centre of education for special needs.

International Symposium: Re-imagining Special Educationthrough Arts Education & Arts Therapy
26-29 July 2008
Melbourne, Australia

Visit http://symposium.portphillip.vic.edu.au and click on the Call for
Papers link to download the Call for Contributions Form Complete form and
outline your role in facilitating a workshop, presenting a performance, paper,
seminar, round-table, poster presentation or community event and e-mail or fax
by close of business on 12 October 2007.
E: enquiries@portphillip.vic.edu.au
F: +61 3 9646 0704
To all educators, arts practitioners, scholars, therapists and artists,

On behalf of the organising committee, I am leased to announce the very
exciting and innovative 2008 International Symposium: Re-imagining Special
Education through Arts Therapy and Arts Education to be held in Melbourne
Australia, 26-29 July 2008.

Traditionally special education has provided a modified mainstream experience
for students with special needs. Recent research and exemplars of good practice
illustrate the importance of a paradigm shift in the delivery of special
education. There is a growing national and international awareness of the need
to develop new strategies. Special education through the Arts delivers a sensory
approach to learning assisting students to move from the non-verbal to the
verbal, from being an observer to a participant and to fully awaken student
potential. These changes have been realized through the power of the Arts
intertwined with Arts Therapy.

This Symposium will provide learning opportunities for participants to explore
and discover the processes and programming required to re-imagine special
education.

The Call for Contributions is now open. It would be appreciated if you would
forward this email to relevant persons within your organisation, and also
forward it throughout your professional networks. If you have a newsletter,
publication or noticeboard it would be appreciated if you could include the
notice above. The Call for Contributions Application Form and ads promoting the
Call for Contributions can be directly downloaded from
http://symposium.portphillip.vic.edu.au/Call_for_Papers/

Thank you for your assistance at this time,

Regards,

Susan Cooper

Susan Cooper
Symposium Convenor
& Director of Development
Port Phillip Specialist School
127 Nott Street
Port Melbourne Vic 3207
T: 03 9646 0855

Susan Cooper
Director of Development
Port Phillip Specialist School
Nott Street, Port Melbourne Vic 3207 Australia
T: +61 3 9646 0855
F: +61 3 9646 0704
W: http://www.portphillip.vic.edu.au

Drawn in Darfur: Pictures Don’t Lie

Could prosecutors use images by Darfur’s children showing civilians under attack as evidence in a future war crimes trial?

By Rebekah Heil in London and Katy Glassborow in The Hague (AR No. 126, 14-Aug-07)

Anna Schmitt was in eastern Chad interviewing Sudanese refugees from the Darfur region when the women at a displacement camp gave her some advice.

“If you want information, you should ask the children.” So she did just that. During her research for the non-government organisation Waging Peace, Schmitt sat in a classroom with the camp’s children, many of whom had been forced from their homes three or four years ago. Through interpreters who spoke Arabic and the languages of Darfur, she asked the children about their hopes and dreams. Many answered that they wanted to be doctors or teachers or join the civil service.

One 16-year-old boy said, “I don’t want to become a rebel. I want to be educated and continue school, so I can help my people.” When he was 14, his father had been killed in front of him in Darfur.

Schmitt asked the children to write down their memories when one of them asked, ‘Would we be allowed to draw instead?’ The children, between the ages of five and 18, drew pictures showing their villages full of tanks and armed men on horseback, houses ablaze and helicopters circling the skies. As Waging Peace gathered in the drawings, the translators got the children to tell them what was in their pictures, and wrote these explanations down on the back of each one.

In the pictures, the helicopters bear the markings of military aircraft, and men in camouflage are labeled by the children as Janjaweed militia. Villagers are shown under attack, women are led off in chains, and civilians are shot at and try to defend themselves with spears and arrows. These visual accounts contradict Khartoum’s insistence that most of the casualties involve combatants from Darfur’s rebel movements.

Waging Peace director Louise Roland-Gosselin says the pictures suggest that the Sudanese government is directly involved in the violence, working alongside the Janjaweed. “Civilians are being targeted, not rebels. Women and children are being shot at, not rebels. It’s not a civil war, and not rebels against government troops,” she said. Roland-Gosselin pointed out that the military are shown as having a lighter skin colour than those being attacked, and explained that the children are identifying themselves as black Africans and the attackers as Arabs.

Khartoum has long denied claims that it is supporting the militia. But this claim was recently contested by the International Criminal Court, ICC, which was tasked by the United Nations Security Council to look into events in Darfur.

Prosecutors began investigations in 2005, and announced this February that they believe Ahmad Harun, currently Sudan’s minister for humanitarian affairs, and Janjaweed militia leader Ali Kushayb, are responsible for coordinated violence against innocent civilians in Darfur.

ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said the men are suspected of committing crimes against humanity and war crimes during attacks on the villages of Kodoom, Bindisi, Mukjar and Arwala in western Darfur between 2003 and 2004. These include rape, murder, torture, destruction of property and forcible transfer. In April, ICC judges issued arrest warrants against the two men.

Waging Peace plans to submit the 500 drawings to the ICC as evidence of attacks carried out by Sudanese government forces. “We think that these pictures are evidence of genocide and show what has been happening for the past four years, and that they constitute evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity,” said Roland-Gosselin. She believes the fact that the drawings were produced by children make them even more valuable as evidence.

“Children basically speak the truth, and the truth coming out of them is much more credible than what’s coming from the Sudanese government,” she said. IWPR approached ICC prosecutors to ask whether such pictures might be admissible as evidence in a criminal investigation and subsequent trial, but they refused to comment.

Chief Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo has consistently encouraged NGOs working in relevant countries to share evidence with his team of investigators. In September 2006, he called on NGOs to help raise awareness about the court across Africa, support witnesses and victims, and collect evidence from the field. “I want to increase your participation so that you help me to get gender-based evidence, as we cannot present a case without evidence,” he told NGOs at a conference. “To enlarge victim participation, we encourage your help.”

If the Darfur children’s pictures were to be brought as evidence, the possibility that the organisation that gathered the evidence exerted some influence on them would have to be dealt with. In general, the onus is on NGOs to prove that the verbal and other testimony they gather – in this case the drawings – were not affected by interviewers with an agenda.

Lawyer Jean Flamme told IWPR he was concerned about the power NGOs could exercise over victims, and questioned their legitimacy in the legal process. Flamme formerly represented Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, a former militia leader from the Democratic Republic of Congo indicted for war crimes and now awaiting trial at the ICC. Flamme said that the prosecutor’s file against Lubanga contains many reports from NGOs, a fact which he finds “questionable”, since the court is required to be completely independent – from NGOs, the countries which support and fund it, and even from the UN Security Council. “This is a big problem,” he stressed.

The human rights group FIDH (International Federation of Human Rights) has recently collected its own drawings from children in refugee camps in Chad. These too seem to portray Janjaweed attacks. Karine Bonneau, director of international justice at FIDH, told IWPR that should ICC prosecutors decide to use such drawings in court, NGOs will have to describe the precise circumstances under which they were created.

Anton Nikiforov, advisor to the chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which like the ICC is based in The Hague, said NGO evidence is used by prosecutors at the tribunal. He noted that prosecutors have to go back and re-interview any witnesses passed to them by human rights groups. “We would use the person who collected such evidence as the drawings as an expert witness to explain how they came about, but then we would need to bring corroborating evidence from the eyewitnesses, their relatives or other sources who could confirm the evidence.” He told IWPR that in general terms, using evidence provided by children is never easy. If an international criminal tribunal accepts evidence from NGOs and human rights groups – including drawings – it is obliged to verify its authenticity and corroborate it with other evidence and testimony.

If children are called to give evidence in court, they could be subjected to vigorous cross-examination by defence lawyers trying to disprove their testimony and attack their credibility. Nikiforov suggested that there was a possibility that “judges would be reluctant to have kids crucified in court”. In any event, the prosecution will be required to submit serious corroborating evidence for testimony of this kind.

Margriet Blaauw from the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims adds a word of caution, stressing that “getting justice is hard”, and giving evidence could cause victims to be traumatised a second time.

She says witnesses need to be offered support before, during and after giving evidence. It would have to be made clear to the children why they are doing the drawings, and they would need to have proper support from the ICC or from the NGO which spoke to them.

“Their wounds cannot be reopened, and then left. It is up to the court to provide sufficient protection to the children’s rights,” said Blaauw.

Bonneau said that criminal evidence needs to relate to a specific person, so pictures showing men in uniform or military helicopters could be used as general evidence at the initial investigation stage. “It is not evidence against a particular accused, so the children would not have to appear or give their testimony before the court” said Bonneau, adding that “taken together with other documents, it could confirm the fact that the population is attacked by Janjaweed”.

Each drawing collected by Waging Peace has the name of the artist written on the back, together with their home village, and their age now and at the time of the attack. The children were certain that they what were drawing happened in 2003 and 2004. According to Roland-Gosselin, “We’re hoping to have exhibitions all over the place exhibiting these drawings and eventually having these permanently placed in a memorial or a museum.”

One picture, drawn by a boy who was 15 when his village was attacked and is now 18, left a short message on the back, written from his new home in a refugee camp. “Look at these pictures carefully and you will see what happened in Darfur. Thank you and see you later.”

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Rebekah Heil is an IWPR contributor in London and Katy Glassborow is an IWPR reporter in The Hague.

Source: Institute for war and peace reporting